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Home The Basics Where do I begin?

Where do I begin?

Folks often contact TransFaith asking some version of "Where do I begin?"  Recent years have brought about a number of very high quality resources that are worth your attention. A few of these are highlighted below for your convenience.

A Basic Overview

The following resources are short, free and easily accessible over the internet. They are great starting points for leadership teams and study groups that are just getting started.

  • Transgender basics - This 20 minute Google Video does not address issues of faith communities, but provides an excellent, audio-visual overview of transgender issues.  Developed by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center (New York, NY). Available for free, on-line.
  • The Other Side on Transgender - This four article collection by four different Christian, transgender-identified authors considers both personal and theological concerns.  Developed by The Other Side magazine. 2001. Available for free, on-line. 
  • TransGlossary - A list of terms related to transgender identities. Developed by the UFMCC Transgender Resource Team. 2005. Available for free, on-line.
  • Making Your Community More Transgender-Friendly - While this 5 page PDF is written for Jewish audiences, it provides important insight into making any faith community more transgender-friendly. Developed by Reuben Zelllman. 2004. Available for free, on-line.

Expanding the Conversation

The following resources are highly recommended for engaging a wider audience in your faith community.

  • Made in God's Image - This 24-page booklet is a concise overview of transgender concerns within the context of Christian faith communities, including  diverse pictures of transgender individuals. Developed by Dumbarton United Methodist Church. 2003. 

Booklets are available for $5.95 each (plus s/h), but bulk orders are available at a discount.

  • Call Me Malcolm - This 90-minute feature-length documentary follows a twenty-five year-old seminary student as he explores faith, love, and gender identity. Developed by the United Church of Christ, Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns. 2005.

DVDs are available, starting at $14.95 each (plus s/h).

Single-session and six-session study guides are also available to accompany the film.  Please refer to the TransFaith Study Guide index for more details.

  • NGLTF is due to release a new faith-based transgender curriculums soon (noted January 2009). Check back for details.

Going Deeper

The following resources provide an excellent overview for more in-depth study.

    • Omnigender: A Trans-Religious Approach by Virginia Ramey Mollenkott - In this 223-page book from Pilgrim Press, biblical scholar, Dr. Virginia Mollenkott, deconstructs the "binary gender construct," reviewing biological, cultural, and theological issues in the process. 2001, revised and expanded 2007.
    • Opening the Door to the Inclusion of Transgender People - While this 80-page PDF book in not focused specifically on faith communities, it does include a short list of action ideas for faith communities. It also provides a comprehensive, general resource for assessing how well your organization integrates transgender people. Developed by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Task Force. Available free, on-line.

    More Resources

    The Human Rights Campaign's Out in Season is a wonderful theological contribution to transgender advocacy and organizing. Organized according to the Christian liturgical seasons, Out in Season brings transgender eyes to the scripture.